Reporter Kartikeya Sharma told DNA, "Whether I went to Palmyra or any other area in Syria, if you are in trouble Bollywood is the best bet for you. All your local contacts can fail you. Even permission given by the Syrian government may not impress the army on the road. He might not like your face and you may end up sitting or standing depending on the situation. What saves you is Bollywood."
"My car was stopped at every post and was asked to identify my self again and again. When I would say that I'm an Indian, the reply would be, "Oh you come from Hind." That would not end the conversation. Out of 100 times I was stopped, 90 percent of the soldiers said, "Give my regards to Shahrukh Khan or we love Shahrukh Khan."
"Even Katrina Kaif, Karishma Kapoor and Amitabh Bachhan came up during the conversation. Some asked to give their regards to Karishma Kapoor or Shahrukh Khan to which number of times I would say, "Off course."
"Many asked me about Amitabh Bachhan's son. His name. His equation with Aishwariya Rai. I used my encyclopedic knowledge of Stardust, Gladrags and Filmfare to the best effect. For those moments I felt that I owed Bollywood."
He further added, "These names helped break ice between us and the Army personnel. There were times when I sat in the front making my government escort sit behind with his papers. Whenever, the Army personnel came to inquire at the check point, I would say Shahrukh Khan and they would smile and ask me to go ahead. It is a classic case of soft power doing better than hard power. India's soft power remains Bollywood. It makes life easier and often helps to break ice in unusual and hostile circumstances. Syria is a case in example."
Don't underestimate the power of Bollywood! The next time you take it lightly, remember that it can save your life in a war-torn Syria. A journalist who travelled through the troubled spots in Syria, particularly the world heritage town of Palmyra, recently penned an intriguing account of his travel in that nation and how it was Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan who saved him every single time.